DISCOVER HANOI WITH FREE WALKING TOURS
October 2010 officially marked 1000 years of the establishment of Hanoi city, although from the airport to downtown you could think you were in Seoul, Korea or Taiwan with all the new real estate developments and Vietnam’s next tallest building. The 70 storey Hanoi Landmark Tower is a work in progress that is set to overtake the Bitexco Financial Tower on completion.
Spend a few hours at our favourite museum, the Hanoi Museum of Fine Arts, and see the old and new blended together in harmony through the eyes of the country’s finest visual theorists.
Vietnam’s capital with over 6 million people is a French colonial architectural treasure trove with ochre as the signature colour on most of the government buildings. The Old Quarter, the Hanoi Opera House and the Presidential Palace, which Ho Chi Minh declined to inhabit because of its opulence and distance from the common man, stand as landmarks.
Turtle Tower on Hoan Kiem lake, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature are classic Vietnamese monuments to the nations history. Carvings at the Temple of Literature show that little of that history is in books – here it is set in stone.
No visit to Hanoi would be complete without a stop at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, in which he lies perpetually in state for viewing.
Local insight: The city’s signature dish, Cha Ca La Vong, is a must try. See our food section on page 56 for the lowdown.